Tajikistan will face Lebanon with both teams hoping to secure a place in the knockout stage. Both teams are equal for third place in Group A going into the last round of games. The Crowns endured a 1-0 midweek loss to Qatar and the Lebanese’s 0-0 draw with China.
Preview (Tajikistan vs. Lebanon)
Tajikistan has proven they are capable of competing with the more seasoned teams in this region. They have created their fair share of opportunities, but have yet to find the back of the net in their two encounters. Even though they are new to this tournament, they have recently experienced success in other Asian competitions. They have won the most recent Merdeka Tournament and the King’s Cup in 2022. That ought to instill confidence in Petr Segrt’s team before this crucial game. They’ll probably need three points to get through to the next round.
Not only would a win be their first of the competition, but it would also guarantee them a spot in the round of sixteen if China’s match against Qatar ended in a loss. The Crowns have only lost once since 2021 when they scored the first goal (5-1 against Uzbekistan in June 2023), and they have only won once in that same period when they conceded the first goal (2-1 against Trinidad and Tobago in September 2022). The Lebanese showed a lot more disciplined defensive effort on matchday two. Like Tajikistan, still need to improve in the attacking third. If Miodrag Radulovic leads this squad to the round of 16, it would be quite the comeback story for him.
Amadoni Kamolov was sent off against Qatar late in the game after a VAR check. He won’t be available for Tajikistan for this important match. Two caps separate Captain Parvizdzhon Umarbayev and Eshson Panjshanbe from 50. Muhammadzhon Rakhimov stays at 49 after missing out on Wednesday’s action. Since his brother Muchekhr Dzhalilov is still battling cancer, Alisher Dzhalilov was named in the starting lineup for the second straight game, and goalie Rustam Yatimov has only let up one goal in this competition.
Between the first and second matchdays, Radulovic made four changes to his Lebanese starting eleven. Robert Alexander Melki, Nassar Nassar, Walid Shour, and Mohammed Haidar were replaced by Khalid Khamis, Hasan Srour, Maher Sabra, and Omar Chaaban. While Nour Mansour has 67 caps for the Cedars, two fewer than Walid Ismail for seventh place all-time, Haidar is currently just nine appearances away from 100 with the national team, significantly behind captain and record holder Hassan Maatouk (118). On Monday, Mostafa Matar might play for the national team for the 25th time. On matchday two, the Ahed goalkeeper stopped seven Chinese attempts to record his first clean sheet of the championship.
Tajikistan 1-1 Lebanon
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